Merkel’s bloc spars over who will run for German chancellor

BERLIN (AP) — The head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, Armin Laschet, has rallied his party’s leadership behind his bid to become the center-right candidate to be Germany’s next leader. That appeared to give Laschet an initial advantage on Monday. But a rival who also has declared his ambition, Markus Soeder, resisted pressure for a immediate decision on who will run for chancellor in the Sept. 26 election, and pointed to his superior poll ratings. The Union bloc wants to resolve the question after months of shadow-boxing between Laschet, the head of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, and Soeder, who leads its smaller Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. Both declared Sunday that they’re prepared to run.